January 10, 1958

HEALTH INSURANCE

STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT

PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. J. W. Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to announce to the house that the government intends to introduce an amendment to the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act during the next session of parliament to repeal section 6 (2) of the act, which deals with conditions relating to the start of the shared program. This section reads as follows:

No contributions shall be paid under this act until at least six provinces, containing at least one-half of the population of Canada, have entered into an agreement and the provincial law in relation to those provinces is in force.

It is of course necessary to specify the time at which federal contributions can be made. Therefore a new section will be proposed which will permit any province that has signed an agreement with the federal government and has a provincial law in force to receive federal contributions on or after July 1, 1958.

This amendment will accomplish two purposes:

1. It establishes an effective date for the start of the program, and

2. The start of the program in any one province will no longer be dependent upon the action in at least five other provinces.

This announcement will allow the provinces concerned to plan their budgets now being or about to be considered, without any uncertainty as to the federal government's stand in this regard. I am confident that at least three or four of our provinces will try to be ready by July 1, 1958, and that most, if not all, of the remainder of the provinces will soon have plans in operation.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Essex East):

Mr. Speaker,

I think the house and the country will welcome this announcement by the Minister of National Health and Welfare, particularly in view of the fact that although now more than six months have passed since the government came to power, no agreements have been signed with any of the provinces. This

kind of action, as my hon. friend well knows, is very necessary in order to permit provinces like Ontario to proceed with their plans.

I would now ask the minister if he does not propose to make any announcement about the government's intention, pursuant to its election pledges, of including tuberculosis and mental illness, without any strings attached such as those laid down by the Prime Minister at the dominion-provincial conference, when he said the government was prepared to include these particular provisions but that any moneys paid out by the federal government, namely a total of $68 million, would have to be deducted from any further fiscal grants made by the federal government to the provinces.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

He did not say that.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

No.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Monteiih:

The Prime Minister at the dominion-provincial conference did make an announcement, but I may say we are not prepared at this moment to make any further announcement in that respect.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I say that although we too would like to see action in the matter of including tubercular and mental cases within the provisions of this act, the only word we wish to say at this moment is that we welcome the announcement the minister has made today.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I would like to ask the

minister a question for the purpose of clarification-

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I think we have followed a very salutary practice after a minister's statement has been made on motions of hearing from only one representative of each group in the house, and of reserving other questions until the question period.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Bonavisia-Twillingaie):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of National Health and Welfare. If I heard him correctly he said this amendment he referred to would be introduced at the next session of parliament. Is it not true that he previously informed us that it would be introduced at this session of parliament?

Inquiries of the Ministry

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Monleilh:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I think I had intimated that we were going to attempt to have the amendment proposed at this session, but we find now that this will not be possible.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the minister if in view of the state of balance of the parties in this house it is not a rather arrogant assumption on the part of the government to assume that this is any assurance to the provinces that something will be done in the next session?

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Apparently the government considers parliament of no importance.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. That is rather in the nature of an assertion than a question, and is not in order at this stage.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

An untrue assertion.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, would the minister not regard it as reasonable to assume that any government in power in the next few months would make that amendment?

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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PC

Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Monteith:

Why yes, of course, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON AMENDMENT TO HOSPITAL INSURANCE AND DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES ACT
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January 10, 1958